The Army Women's Team are Champions!

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Army Women have won the 2013 Australian Services Rugby Championship after a 19 – 8 victory over Combined Navy /Air Force Women on the final day of competition at Victoria Barracks, Sydney.

It was a willing contest dominated early by the Combined side, who were looking to make it three wins in a row over Army, but they were unable to take advantage and it was only a try saving tackle from Combined’s Rachel Crothers which prevented Army taking an early lead.

After absorbing all the pressure early it was Army’s turn to apply the blow torch, but they couldn’t take advantage of their dominance to score.

They were camped in the Combined team’s 22 for most of the second half of the first 30 minutes, but a combination of handling errors and good work at the break down by the Combined team meant Army were unable to score.

Combined played brilliantly to absorb the pressure and, against the run of play, went into halftime leading 3-0 after Sara Beard kicked a penalty on the stroke of half time.

The second half continued with the same theme as the first, with Army dominating territory and possession.

An early penalty gave them a good attacking opportunity, but again, handling errors cost them and they turned the ball over.

After a short time where neither side could exert their dominance, Army won a scrum in the middle of the park, 22m out from Combined’s try line.

After turning the ball over and then winning it back, Army’s halfback, Kelly Boye dived over the line to score the first try of the match.

The resultant conversion by five-eight Georgia Smith gave Army the lead, 7 – 3.

After waiting over 40 minutes for their first try, it took Army only five more to score their second, when winger Emma-Lee Wood scored after strong running and a good offload from centre Talesha Quinn.

Smith missed the conversion, but still Army led 12 – 3.

The strong running of Quinn, Wood, number eight Caroline Vakalahi and prop Sara Petchell was causing the Combined side trouble and it seemed only a matter of time before Army would open the game up.

However, Combined kept coming at them, and after going close on two occasions but failing to score, they looked certain to close the gap, but a dropped ball over the line cost them.

Their dominance was to pay off though, with centre Rhiannon Horne scoring with 10 mins to go to make it 12 – 8.

A comeback looked possible, but with only minutes remaining Army’s winger, Anne Dufficy scored to put the result beyond doubt.

Army Women Captain, Caroline Vakalahi, said it was a stern chat at half time which turned them around.

“We started off a bit shaky and didn’t really stick to the game plan and it showed,” she said.

“In the second half the girls came out fighting and stuck to our game plan and the match turned around for us.

“For a lot of these girls their rugby career only began a few weeks ago so I’m really proud of them.”

Navy Women Captain, Rebekah Allen, said it was a hard result to take.

“I’m a bit heart broken to be honest but the way the girls played today was great considering we really had to rally together during the week,” she said.

“While I’m heartbroken we lost I’m really proud of the way the girls pulled together and it was right until the end that Army were able to go through us.

They had to fight hard for that win, we didn’t hand it to them.”

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